Sometimes you have to get laser-focused to get things done and then it’s amazing what you can accomplish.
This week, I lost two days to lack of sleep. I could hardly function and I deliberately gave myself the days mostly off. It meant that in order to make sufficient progress on my goals for the week, I had to be laser-focused the rest of the week. I’m proud to tell you, I have an FO to show for it.
Watch Episode 5 of the Knitting Podcast
I’ve been laser-focused on finishing the baby vest all week long. I haven’t done any other knitting to speak of. I managed to put in 3 rows on the No Frills cardigan. But fear not, the baby vest provided plenty of “entertainment”.
After my realisation in episode 004, that I just need to do the next thing, the knitting on the back of the vest was zooming along nicely.
Then the first small disaster hit. I ran out of yarn 3 cm from the end of the back. It was so annoying that I had to use a second skein on the body. I’m not a big fan of weaving in ends. But there was no helping it so I went to grab the second skein from my stash and it was not there.
I have a small stash of sock yarn and as this is made with Filcolana’s Arwetta Classic, so it should have been there. For a full three minutes, I was mildly freaking out, frustrated that I would have to get a new skein and that wouldn’t be the same dye lot.
Luckily, I found the second skein in the wrong crate. It had apparently become so fond of the yarn for the No Frills cardigan that it had migrated into that crate. Disaster averted, I resumed knitting the vest and zooming along.
But Wait, There’s More…
I cast off the body and couldn’t get the surprisingly stretchy cast-off to look nice. I think I redid that cast of four times before I just settled on the fact that this vest would have two very different edges on the bottom.
I then set out to pick up stitches for the neckline, which was, I’m happy to report uneventful. I was five rows of knitting from being done. Four rows, three rows, two rows. Wait, wasn’t there supposed to be a buttonhole?
Thankfully I could just drop the stitches down and make it work. I finished knitting the last row and then battled with the bind off again. I have no clue what’s the matter. I’ve done it so many times and I even looked it up again on YouTube but it just wouldn’t flow and I was battling every single stitch.
Finishing, What Can Go Wrong?
I sat and admired my “finished” baby vest and came to terms that although this wouldn’t be a project I would admire or want to pass on to my grandchildren, it would keep my youngest warm all winter and that was, after all, the main point.
I took a deep breath and began assembling it. Honestly, if it wasn’t for you guys, I would have let it linger for a while.
I began stitching the seam on the first side and I couldn’t get it neat. First, I accidentally made it inside out, an honest mistake that I realised 1/3 of the way in. Then I got it off to a good start and 1 cm before the end, I looked at it to admire it, because I like to admire nice finishing. Well, this wasn’t it. It was wonky and all over the place.
Needless to say, I couldn’t send my child into the world looking like that! So I undid it and began again. After taking a walk and MANY deep breaths.
Coming back to it, I was able to do it fairly nicely and by then I was so over this vest that I decided done is better than perfect.
I was able to find these cute blue buttons in my button stash, which once again made me so thankful for my grandmother and the other lady who had been collecting these buttons for decades.
Knitting Study Hall
This week, I’ve not so much been studying anything as I have been thinking about what has kept me from designing more patterns over the past few years. I came to the conclusion that I had felt like I could only design things I needed. So if I already had a hat, I couldn’t design another even though I had an idea for one.
When I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, I understood her theory about ideas floating around and attaching themselves to you but leaving you again if you don’t act on them. I hadn’t made the connection to designing though for some reason but now I see it pretty clearly.
The ideas have been there for so many things but since I couldn’t justify the design to myself, it disappeared again. Floating on to someone willing to act on it.
Someone pointed out to me that “real” designers don’t design what they need. They design what they want to create and for the market. That’s when it fully clicked. I can design something without having a use or need for it personally. If I have ideas for 15 pairs of socks, it’s perfectly fine to design and knit them, although I wouldn’t personally have that many in my sock drawer.
It may sound silly but it was a really profound realisation for me and hopefully, it will set me free to act on the ideas that come to me in the future. I’ve taken a tiny baby step, keep reading to find out what.
I’ve mentioned stashes twice already. I love my button stash but I don’t really have a yarn stash to speak of. I mostly have a few skeins of sock yarn and then the yarn I’m using for current projects.
I’ve been thinking a lot about stashes though. I’ve never been the kind of knitter who bought random skeins of yarn or a sweater’s quantity of something unless I knew I had that yarn matched with a pattern and I was going to cast on right away. The main reason was that I didn’t have the budget for it.
Knitting, at least if you like to knit with wonderful yarns is an expensive hobby. You get a lot for your money in terms of time spent making and using an item, but you still need the actual money to pay for yarn in the first place.
I’m not interested in building a stash with sweater quantities of yarn but I would like to build what I have termed a swatching stash.
What is a Swatching Stash?
A swatching stash is a small stash with various yarns you like to work in. There’s just one of each in a colour you generally like. You then have the ability to make a swatch in a yarn whenever you want to and aren’t dependent on waiting for your LYS to open.
This is a stash I want to grow slowly and organically. I purchased two balls of yarn for my swatching stash this week because I want to swatch some ideas for a sweater design.
I got Filcolana Merci, Which is a 50% superwash merino wool and 50% pima cotton. I think I’m going to return this one. The Mindfulness in Knitting book really has me rethinking my yarn choices at the moment.
The other ball is økologisk Sommeruld (Organic Summer Wool) from CaMaRose. It’s a 70% organic merino wool, 30% organ cotton. It’s a non mulesed wool and coloured with Standard 100 (by Oeko-Tex) colours, which means it’s tested free from more than 300 damaging chemicals.
That’s the kind of yarn I want to work with. My mind has been occupied with thoughts of yarn quality and what I value, why I value it and what I’m willing to pay for it. Additionally, I feel a responsibility to use yarns I believe make the world a better place for everyone involved in the process of making them.
Privilege is not something I talk about much, but I realise that I’m privileged to be able to make such decisions now.
Watch the previous episodes of the knitting podcast